Moving Beyond Basic Content Localization with AI

By Ashley Bailey Ashley Bailey has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on March 27, 2023

The demand for global language services has continuously grown year over year. Last year, it reached a market size of $62.2 billion and is expected to grow to nearly $99 billion by 2028 because companies are actively looking to grow their business through market expansion. However, expanding your brand to new, multilingual audiences within your home region or entering new regions and markets worldwide historically involved committing many resources.

It required hiring language specialists and translators that could take original content and transform it so that it could reach new locales. While that came with its challenges, there are still more hurdles content creators and brands face. They must grapple with how it impacts their budgets, coordinate the internal and third-party teams, and deliver against demanding deadlines.

This becomes incredibly challenging during times of economic uncertainty, as we find ourselves in right now. Companies inevitably become more conservative with their budgets. But at the same time, they do not want to lose their competitive edge or limit their audience growth potential.

To reach new markets and continue to expand their brand typically was an investment only the prominent players with the budgets to spend could make. But AI voice levels the playing field, making content localization faster, more cost and time efficient, and scalable.

The Advantages of AI Localization

It’s no secret that the world has become the most connected ever. As a result, businesses that produce content must think globally rather than narrow their vision to one market audience. Coupled with consumer preferences, from online experiences to the content they consume on streaming services, content creators of all sizes need to consider how to make their content multilingual. In the UK and the US alone, two-thirds watch foreign language content, with 76% of millennials watching foreign language TV shows and films. But this preference goes beyond just consuming media. 90% of online shoppers will choose their native language if it’s made available. If you consider that of the 7,100 languages spoken in the world today, 33 languages are spoken by 50 million or more people. That might not seem a lot initially, but that also doesn’t account for regional dialects. And then, if you factor in trying to find and hire specialists for multiple languages, among the other logistical necessities, that operational weight makes it difficult to execute, especially for the little guys.

But AI voice, also known by other names such as synthetic and deepfake voice (not always glowingly), is changing that. AI voice does two things to accelerate the whole process. First, it provides unmatched scale. Depending on the provider, you can now access a roster of languages to rapidly transform content or develop custom outputs, leading us to the second aspect of acceleration.

With this new technology, both native speakers, as well as non-native or -fluent speakers and voice actors, can create a model of their own voice. That means you can run text copy through the AI voice model, which will playback in their voice (with their approval being a critical requirement). In addition, they can now even have their voice processed to speak different languages. These custom approaches unlock new monetization opportunities for the voice community while providing the opportunity to not only scale but acquire a voice actor without getting into a studio whenever something needs to be recorded.

Localization Is More Than Translation 

But localization needs to do more than translate content into other languages. There are varying degrees of quality when it comes to voices. And that’s even if the localized content has audio. Content, such as TV shows and movies, might only have subtitles in the language. While technology levels the playing field for companies, business leaders must also be mindful of leveling the playing field for the consumer. Every single consumer deserves to have quality, lifelike, and human-sounding content regardless of the languages they speak or any disabilities they may have.

From an accessibility standpoint, most people do not want to hear a robot’s voice, particularly when watching a feature film, TV show, or playing games. But, even if that puts the content in their native tongue, automating localization can easily strip the human out of the experience. And that’s not acceptable today, given the capabilities AI voice offers.

By leveraging the advances of AI in recent years, organizations should not lose sight of making their content understandable to different language-speaking audiences and accessible to everyone. However, in doing so, we can ensure that we don’t sacrifice the human element in reaching wider audiences, for that’s the crux driving strong engagement. Otherwise, you risk alienating your audience and not capturing their attention, resulting in your message quite literally becoming lost in translation.

By Ashley Bailey Ashley Bailey has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Ashley Bailey contributes to Grit Daily and is the Director of Product Marketing, Synthetics and Metaverse at Veritone. She leads marketing for synthetic media and metaverse solutions at Veritone. In her role as Director of Product Marketing, Ashley evangelizes Veritone’s solutions among a broad range of customers including celebrities, athletes, influencers, broadcasters, podcasters and other prominent figures across industries to securely and ethically create, distribute and monetize synthetic voices. Ashley is a synthetic media thought leader who frequently speaks at industry conferences and with the press. Ashley has spent her career helping startup companies win and retain blue-chip clients, achieve a new level of success and position them for their next phase of growth — whether through an IPO, additional funding or an acquisition. Ashley earned a bachelor's degree in technology journalism, public relations and communications at Colorado State University.

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